Research Profile


Research at the Chair of Architectural History

In its research the Chair of Architectural History connects two perspectives that fundamentally differ in their methodology yet are both strongly linked to the essence of architecture and, when used in combination, offer a comprehensive understanding of the design and the programmatic intent of an architectural artefact: the detailed examination of the material substance of the specific building "from below" and the investigation of the overarching general and universal laws of architecture "from above."

Historic building research

Research at the Chair of Architectural History is generally based on the object itself and uses meticulous in-situ building research as its starting point. To this end the Chair employs cutting-edge techniques of surveying and documentation. On-site analyses on various scales, from the urban setting down to construction details, provide fundamental insights into the planning and construction process of a structure and, when compared to historical sources and images, lead to a deeper understanding of its functional and iconological programs and intentions that cannot be gained from studying written resources alone.

A particular characteristic of this approach is its interdisciplinarity. It situates itself at the intersection of engineering, the humanities, and the natural sciences and integrates modern methods from all three fields. The building research projects generally have an international focus and examine outstanding monuments and sites across the whole of Europe.

Interplay between research and teaching

One of the outstanding potentials of this research profile lies in its aptitude to directly connect research and teaching. Students have the possibility to participate in the Chair's surveying campaigns in the context of project work and electives, thus receiving a first introduction to the methods of architectural fieldwork and historic building research. Particularly interested students can work as student assistants and thereby deepen their understanding not only of the questions, approaches, and procedures relevant to the field of architectural history, but also of the organization of research itself.

A detailed description of the methods and aims of the "Architekturgeschichte der Aachener Schule" has been published in "architectura. Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Baukunst – Journal of the History of Architecture" (50/2022). A summary of the essay can be found here.